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In 1989, martial law had been lifted for over a year. The filmmakers take as their main thread the interviews of three media people who are film editors and whose identities are kept hidden, for a discussion of the political attitudes of the Taiwan media towards the Tienanmen Incident of June 4 1989. Using top stories from the print media and televised news reports, the documentary relates how during the Tienanmen Incident the PRC's Central TV ceaselessly twisted the facts of the Incident, saying that the students were criminals, and that no one was killed in Tienanmen Square. On the other hand, with the May 20 Demonstration of 1988, Taiwan's three TV stations called the farmers illegal elements bent on violence. Through the juxtaposition of the two sides, the filmmakers render a clear comparison of the explanations given by officialdom in defense of handling of the incidents on their respective sides. In Taiwan, reporting takes the audience in the direction of anti-communism, but not towards democracy. Emotions are all the more colored by hit songs and serialized dramas, thereby agitating the audiences. No penetrating reporting of the causes and effects of the Tienanmen Incident were given, so that the media was only stirring up greater anti-communist fervor in Taiwan, while an ostrich-like attitude is encouraged that does not question the democratic state of affairs in Taiwan itself. While the makers refrain from any use of narrative voice, yet the hidden meaning is as clear as any explanatory text, and the viewpoint of the makers is all too evident. With the reporting of the media of the eighties and nineties, we were unable to hear the voices of the farmers in the May 20 Demonstration, while with Tienmen Incident we were helpless to lend a hand from across the Taiwan Strait. And now we are in the 21st century, and the Taiwan media is as backward as ever, filling us with hatred and bitterness!

 

Source: Taiwan International Documentary Festival